In a rare instance, a 26-year-old woman in Mumbai has given birth to conjoined twins, who have separate heads but share all other vital organs. The babies were delivered at the civic-run Sion hospital on Wednesday morning and weighed 4.5 kg at birth. 

"These conjoined twins are not the usual type and have "a very complex internal architecture". Externally they have two separate heads and necks, but a partially common thorax, and are completely fused below the umbilicus level," said Sion Hospital dean Dr Suleman Merchant.

The twins are under the care of Dr Paras Kothari, HOD of Paediatrics Surgery at the hospital. 

The CT scan and MRI reports have shown that the babies have a heart, a set of kidney, a lever, an abdomen and a pelvis in common. The lungs are attached with only one baby and the only separate parts are spinal cord, brain and face. reports Indian Express.

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“In medical literature, we have seen only two such cases where one baby has survived when twins had a fused common heart,” Kothari told Indian Express.

"The babies have two legs and three hands. When they are asleep, we will pinch each limb to check which baby wakes up or reacts. Based on our understanding of whether one baby has all sets of limbs intact, we will proceed to separate him from the second,” he added.

"We are fortunate to have Dr Paras Kothari, who has successfully operated on many conjoined twins. He will be the leader of a vast team of specialists and super specialists which has been assigned the task of planning the future course of action for these conjoined twins," said Merchant. 

He said the team also includes paediatric surgeons, neonatologists and anaesthetists. 

According to doctors, conjoined twins are born 1 in every 2 lakh births and only 5-25 per cent survive. 

The babies will require many more investigations, end of which the next course of action will be decided, Merchant said, adding that the hospital will provide free of cost medical care and future treatment.

With inputs from PTI

Feature image is of the newly born conjoined twins / Twitter